When people think of spring cleaning, most of us focus on our closets, houses or our desks at work.
The Better Business Bureau serving Metro Atlanta, Athens and Northeast Georgia, though, encourages people to tidy up their digital devices as well.
Someone I know well (ahem) has more than 800 photos stored on her phone and more than 15,000 emails on a personal account. Perhaps it’s time to purge.
The BBB warns that all that data, including contacts, financial records and photos, could potentially fall into the hands of the bad guys.
Then there are the accidental loss of data because of computer glitches. More than 68 percent of Americans store 25 percent or more of their photos digitally, according to one study.
The BBB recommends backing up all important files. Go through your device and deleting files you don’t need, uninstall programs you don’t use and clear out your deleted files.
- Keep software updated. Make sure all devices have the most recent software updates installed. This includes security software, web browsers, document readers, operating systems and any other software you use regularly. Install anti-virus software on your devices and keep them up-to-date.
- Delete unused apps and keep others updated. Not only will you reduce clutter, you’ll have more storage space for data and a longer battery life on your device.
- Create stronger passwords. Passwords like “123456” or “qwerty” are among some of the most common passwords used by the general population. Longer passwords and those that combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols provide better protection.
- Delete emails older than a year, and create and label folders for emails to stay organized. Delete messages in your spam folder and unsubscribe from emails you don’t open. Archive important messages.
- Check your privacy settings on your social media sites. Review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to be sure that they remain set to your comfort level for sharing to your friends or the public.